By Josh Beneteau
The men’s basketball team has switched uniform providers from Adidas to Nike, a deal that will cost the school zero dollars.
Using his connections with the Nike Hoops Summit, Ryerson head coach Roy Rana was able to negotiate a deal that sees Nike supply the men’s basketball team with uniforms, practice gear and travel clothes for free.
“The Nike deal is truly what you get in an American NCAA Division I model where the university is truly a sponsor benefactor,” said Athletic Director Ivan Joseph. “100 per cent Nike gives it to them free, so that allows me to have dollars for other things.”
The deal with Nike was finalized at the end of the summer after negotiating for most of 2014.
The new uniforms arrived in early January and the team first wore them on Jan. 10 against McMaster.
Joseph said that Nike wanted to work with Rana because of his reputation in the basketball community and the success of the team. Rana was unavailable for an interview.
“They want to work with Roy,” Joseph said. “Part of that is Maple Leaf Gardens and the teams they are playing but it all comes back to Roy.”
Men’s basketball is the first team to switch from Adidas, which has been supplying uniforms and kits to Ryerson through a vendor called Big Kahuna Sports. That five-year contract, the first of its kind at Ryerson, put all the teams under the Adidas banner. It expired in early 2014 and the school officially released a Request for Proposal (RFP) on Jan. 16, 2015 to begin looking for bids from prospective vendors, including Nike, Adidas and Under Armor.
Joseph wouldn’t reveal the exact contents of the contract that just expired with Big Kahuna, saying he didn’t want other schools to see it and get a competitive advantage.
But he did say the way it was structured gave Ryerson a certain percentage off of all of their purchases and then a very small kickback if they spent a certain amount of money.
“In that first year, we probably spent anywhere from $60-80,000 because we had to outfit every single team,” Joseph said. “That was the biggest year we ever spent on equipment.” Club teams can buy from Big Kahuna too at the same rate as the athletic department. They just have to find the funds themselves.
Joseph expects the new contract to be similarly structured to the old one, saying the key when choosing a brand is one that can cover all of the teams.
“Part of it is the cost of the bid but part of it is to service all of our student athletes,” Joseph said. “I prefer everybody to be under one umbrella so that when you look at us you know it’s a Ryerson Ram.”